It had been talked about all through the Isle of Man TT practice week. Would we see a 134 mph lap during this TT fortnight?
It didn’t take long to get the answer, with Dean Harrison breaking the 134 mph barrier with his opening lap of the Superbike TT race…from a standing start.
With Michael Dunlop and Peter Hickman in tow, it seemed that the podium positions were a lock from the early sector times, but the six laps of the Superbike TT race proved to be a trial of miles for these road-racing gladiators.
For Peter Hickman, one lap was all that his BMW S1000RR could muster, with the BSB rider having to retire at the Grandstand, instead of starting his second lap.
Meanwhile, Dean Harrison stunned the crowd with a 134.432 mph lap, setting a record pace in every sector of the TT Mountain Course. The pace was too much even for the likes of Michael Dunlop, who trailed by a healthy margin.
After the first pit stop, Dunlop would see over 16 seconds between him and Harrison. Meanwhile, Hickman’s retirement meant a shuffling of the leaderboard, with Conor Cummins slotting into third overall, followed by James Hillier and David Johnson.
With the race settling, all eyes were watching to see if Dunlop could chip away at Harrison’s lead, and whether the duo would set any more records on their superbikes.
Little by little, Dunlop ate a second here and there into Harrison’s pace, taking a third of the gap by mid-race distance. By Glen Helen on Lap 4, Dunlop was under 10 seconds on Harrison, with one pit stop still to go.
Turning up the wick on Lap 4, Michael Dunlop clawed back even more time, 4.6 seconds back at Ballaugh, and ahead at the Ramsey hairpin.
With Harrison nowhere in sight, and we would later find out that Dean Harrison retired at the Sulby Crossroads, his Silicone Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR clutch slipping and succumbing to the power.
Harrison’s misfortunes all but gave Dunlop the Superbike TT race victory, who would go on to a comfortable race win.
Ian Hutchinson retired at Governor’s Bridge on Lap 4, much to the dismay of fans. Adding to the war of attrition, Gary Johnson also retired on Lap 4.
The remaining two laps were without any major events, with Dunlop setting an outright record for finishing the six laps of the Superbike TT.
Photo: © 2018 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved
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